Single post

NYC January 28 & 29, 2014

I’ve written blog posts for Jan. 23, 24, and 25. On Jan. 26 Sunday, we skipped the art and spent the day walking in Central Park and walking down 5th Avenue for 47 blocks, stopping in the NY Public Library. On Jan. 27, Monday, I never left the apartment – I needed a rest! – but the resting included about 8 hours of blog post writing, so I’m not sure that qualifies, really, as rest. But it did allow me to better absorb all that I had seen and done in the previous days, which is very valuable. I always try to squeeze the most out of every chance I get to be in NYC and I always end up terribly overloaded!

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, I was up and out once again. My first adventure was going to meet Lynn Gall at her studio on W. 29th St. near 7th Ave. I met Lynn when she attended my classes at Farmington Valley Art Center in Avon, CT. Now a good friend of mine, she lives most of the year in NYC and spends a month or two in North Adams, in the loft below mine in the Eclipse Mill. Lynn has been teaching various classes here in NYC, working a lot in her studio, and she will be having a solo show at Carter Burden Gallery at 548 West 28th Street, #534, between 10th & 11th Avenues, from Feb. 13 to Mar. 6. The opening reception is Feb. 13 from 6-8 p.m. I’ve included a few photos of Lynn’s studio, outside and inside. She shares the space – right now with two others, but the space is divided into 4 areas, each rented separately. She has met several interesting people who share this space with her and is very pleased with the arrangement, even though the small size means some adjustment in how she works.

After the studio visit, and some fantastic chicken and lemon soup in a wonderful little Greek restaurant nearby, Lynn and I headed for the galleries in the 50’s. Sadly, we were disappointed. Most of the galleries have moved to Chelsea, so the pickings are slim in this area now, and they are spaced some distance apart. Tuesday was “bite-your-face” cold and we were not enjoying the hunt from one gallery to another. The ones we stopped at didn’t have anything really interesting going on. We admired the compositions in a couple of the works by a well known photographer, Thomas Struth, showing at Marian Goodman Gallery, and I will include a couple of photos of these, but nothing else. My feeling is that there are still worthwhile shows to be found in the 50’s, but one has to be ready to do some research and some walking – not like in Chelsea where you just go in and out of neighboring doors and can’t manage to make it to all of the galleries unless you have several days. So I won’t totally discount the 50’s, but I will be more exact about what I want to see prior to going there.

The freezing temperatures drove Lynn and I to seek the warmth of MOMA. We visited the Ileana Sonnabend exhibit, but neither of us were particularly excited about most of it. We were both pleased, though, to spend some time with two works by Robert Rauschenberg and one by Jasper Johns. For the Annual April Artist Retreat that I will be teaching in North Adams our focus topic is Simplicity and Complexity. Take a look at these three works with that in mind. After the Sonnabend exhibit, we spent some time at a film installation by Isaac Julien called “Ten Thousand Waves,” done in 2010. This installation brought several thoughts to my mind: could it be called a film collage? a collage of time (past, present, imaginary, reenacted)? a collage of cultures? a collage of artistic disciplines (visual, music, literature)? It seems to me that installation art is a type of collage – I see a progressive link from collage to assemblage (2D and 3D) to installation. Guess it depends on whether you choose to be wide-ranging and inclusive in definition or very specific and exclusive in your definition. For me no final answer is needed; looking at it from all these perspectives is expansive for me and inspiring. Definitely take a look at the MOMA website: moma.org. There is an interesting video about the making of this installation, plus a write up explaining it. When I was viewing it myself, I knew none of this, so for me the meaning was very mysterious and poetic and visually beautiful, but I didn’t at all get the details or facts. That brings up the question of how to look at any art work – just look with no prior knowledge and see what it tells you or read up on it first then look at it. Again, I have no answer, but the question is an expansive one, I think. Here is a small bit from the write up: “Ten Thousand Waves is a 55 minute-long immersive film installation projected onto nine double-sided screes arranged in a dynamic structure. The inspiration was the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, in which more than 20 Chinese cockle pickers drowned on a flooded sandbank off the coast in northwest England. Julien poetically interweaves contemporary Chinese culture with its ancient myths. The installation is staged on the streets of old and modern Shanghai and includes music and sounds that fuse Eastern and Western traditions. In a reflection of the movement of people across continents, audiences move freely, watching from whichever vantage points they choose.”

And now for Wednesday, Jan. 29. I went off on my own by about 11 a.m. to visit some of the galleries in Chelsea and I saw lots and lots and lots of really interesting stuff. But, as usual, I will only show you a small portion of it, most of it related to collage in some way, some of it a stretch to relate to collage, but work that I found interesting in some way. Also, this is the last time I will apologize for no titles. It’s really too much to try to get all of them if they aren’t posted on the wall near the work. When the title is posted, I can just take a photo of it, when it isn’t, I’d have to figure out some way to remember which names on a long list relate to which photos I’ve taken. Nope. Not gonna do it. So, most of the time there will be no specific titles for specific works. If you need it you could probably find it on the specific gallery’s website.

Early on in Wednesday’s adventure I came across the work of Lisa Fischetti at SOHO20 Chelsea in an exhibit titled “About A Window,” which gives you an immediate clue as to how to look at this work. Here is an excerpt from the press release, “In a series of recent oil on wood panel paintings by Lisa Fischetti, the window, the unifying compositional motif, is considered with clean, minimalist precision. There are subtle details to be found within the painting’s minimalist quality. Each piece is based off of a 7×7″ square; her palette cycles through five colors. Adhering to these principles of standardization allows the less obvious to become increasingly more so. While the work has sculptural dimensionality, it does not dismiss its skin of painterly flatness. Fischetti has been practicing architecture, designing furniture and painting for the last thirty years.”

At Claire Oliver Gallery I found the work of Andy Denzler in “Between the Fragments.” From the press release: “Denzler’s new paintings unite the precision and nostalgia of realism with the bold dynamism and pulsating energy of gestural abstraction. Denzler photographs small moments. The first layer is a realistic oil painting on linen. Allowed to dry as Denzler studies them, sometimes for months, he then paints the same image a second time, directly on top of the first; this layer is created in gestural thick strokes. Working very quickly and assuredly, as Denzler has only three or four hours to finish before the paint begins to cure, he scrapes away superfluous content.”

I found KwanWoo Lee’s work at Able Fine Art NY. From the press release, “KwanWoo Lee uses hand-carved stamps to represent the pixels in his compositions. Weaving the past with the present, the stamps, carrying their unique identity, vastly come together to signify the various individuals and moments in Korean history as well as to give attention to each identity in the realm of daily exchange. The artist is known to incorporate some thoughts of Taoism and Buddhism.” Definitely a collage process. Very time consuming and labor intensive. Assemblage? I continually find work that seems to lie somewhere in the foggy borders of collage, assemblage, installation. Do the categories and definitions matter? Maybe only when we attempt to put words to the works when we discuss them.

I was particularly taken by the works of Gordon Moore at Betty Cuningham Gallery. I couldn’t tell if any actual collage was used, but the appearance is collage-like. Are these as simple as they first appear, or do they grow complex the longer one studies them? From the press release: “The current exhibition includes seven large scale paintings (78×54″) and twelve smaller paintings (40×30″). Each painting reveals Moore’s continued concern with dimensional space and drawn space, with purposeful line and incidental mark and with visual challenges: Is it a photograph or paint? Is it collage? Although remaining true to his reduced palette, the artist introduces more color – reds, blues, and greens – in his new work. Moore describes himself as an empiricist and the paintings reveal an abstract but very tangible world. There are also fourteen works on paper, six of which measure 40×27″ and eight are 14×11″. All are ink and gouache on photo-emulsion paper. Here the tangible meets the abstract as the incidental photographs of street detritus (serrated packing foam, metal grill, etc.) converse with the drawn lines and the painted areas.”

And from a catalog of a Gordon Moore exhibition in 2006: “The tighter the parameters of your behavior, the more critical small actions become – the less you do, the less you have to do to do a lot. Gordon Moore’s paintings demonstrate this succinctly. Their economy of means is stringent. There is a grid, a veil, some drawn lines and a narrow palette. The prime term in the paintings’ vocabulary is a grid based on the format of industrial security netting. This grid always alludes to its real-world source. The grid is rendered positively or negatively, painted gray or ivory or left white. There are also loosely-painted, transparent veils of color that float over and around the grid, usually in the same palette. In lieu of a figure, in the allusive space created by the grids and veils, there are bundles and clusters of drawn lines of various thicknesses, rendered positively or negatively, rigorously or loosely, in an equally moderated palette. And that’s it.” This is not about the paintings that I saw this week, this refers to the 2006 paintings and I can show them to you in the catalog the next time we meet for ISW – those of you reading this who are my students. Also for my students – we talk often of “contracts” and limiting one’s parameters. This is a very clear and powerful example of how fabulously this approach can work.

Now for something completely different! Leah Yerpe’s exhibition “Stellify” at Dillon Gallery. From the press release: “This exhibition will comprise of Yerpe’s large-scale drawings of figures appearing to move across the frame in various positions – twisting, turning, colliding, and falling. The multiplied figures in each drawing represent one model having free rein to move in an immediate, improvised dance. While the bodies seem to move fluidly, Yerpe’s drawing process is lengthy and painstaking, every detail and gesture having great significance. This adds to the sense of tension already present in the work as the figures seem to push and pull against each other, in a process of transformation.” To me there is a definite connection to the impulse of collage in the use of the same figure in different positions being combined into one image. Your opinion?

Sears Peyton was exhibiting the work of Celia Gerard. From an article in the Daily Beast by Justin Jones: “Celia Gerard’s mixed-media works hang in a balance of solidity and transparency, sculpture and drawing, as she finds a way to dig deeper into space. The first drawings were just black and white and appeared at Sears Peyton in 2011. “I was interested in what I could do with only a few materials and a limited palette,” Gerard said, “but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that color started seeping in.” Even though colors have now permeated her works, it still has a lot to do with depth and form. “It wasn’t as much about color as it was about pushing the drawing along and getting deeper into the space that I was looking for,” she said. “Still, I wanted to keep a very limited palette.” And, from an interview with Charlie Schultz in ArtSlant NY: “There is a process, but for the most part it’s improvisational. It’s improvisation within a defined set of parameters. I keep it basic. I find that you can do a lot with very little. There’s graphite, charcoal, chalk, ink. I use a great goat milk-based paint. But I also use sandpaper and an electric sander. The paper is so strong. It’s handmade and wouldn’t fall apart if you put it in a washing machine.” Personally, I was taken with both her use of circles and her creation of layers, both actual and illusional. Also, notice her mention of a defined set of parameters.

I was surprised and pleased to find the work of Roseline Koener in a group show at Walter Wickiser. Roseline is a friend of Geney’s and I think that Geney took a workshop with her. Up until now I had only seen her work in a catalog. From an essay by Jonathan Goodman: “Roseline Koener works with paper colored with ink, and with equally colorful, texturally compelling artist’s books. She is an artist who loves brilliant hues, and often the surface of her art feels nearly as if it has been illuminated from within. The collages of overlapping papers build connections between rectangles of bright colors that look like passages of tinted light, offering Koener’s esthetic of joyous existence. The works become memorable by virtue of their intensity of light, moving beyond the beautiful toward a spiritual statement.”

In the work of Murat Pulat at Leila Heller Gallerly, I was struck by the similarity between how he builds his painting with daubs of thick paint and the way some collage artists might build the same image with bits of paper or other materials. His surfaces are very much about these variously shaped paint daubs as objects that, grouped together, form an image. The press release doesn’t mention this, it just says,”Materiality is an important component in Pulat’s paintings. By using traditional materials of oil on canvas, in the form of thick coats of paint to the canvas’s surface, Pulat creates dotted textures. The texture the artist crates on his oeuvre define that paintings from the realism of a film-still; however, these textural grains reference the pixels of a film reminding the viewer of the origin of the paintings’ subject matter.” Truthfully, they look as if they were done with icing and a cake decorator. Lisa Nilsson did this with acrylic paint during one of our workshops several years ago – does anyone remember that? Well, I’m reporting what I saw out there, not passing judgement on it – but these were not my favorite works, just another interesting approach to tell you about.

Also at Leila Heller was an exhibit of work by Kezban Arca Batibeki titled “Nest.” From the gallery write up, a quote by the artist, “The Nest series is based on a well-known Turkish saying: “The female birds make the nest.” I have challenged this idea in my work by conveying that the home may not be as safe as it seems. When women become too consumed with the idea of the home as a safe haven and a fairytale-like lifestyle, they can easily lose themselves, succumbing to oppressive circumstances. Thus, my works show the importance of women maintaining their independence.”

And I will end with the work of Daniel Levine at Churner and Churner – so very timely considering our upcoming focus on simplicity and complexity! Again, no judgement by me, I will simply offer you a bit from the press release and we can all discuss it at a later date: “Since 1990 Daniel Levine has created monochrome paintings. By slowly building up layers of paint, he exploits difference: for each work the canvas is often a slightly different color, tone, or weave, stretched at different depths, creating thinner or thicker profiles; the shapes are almost but not quite square; and thin borders amplify the paintings’ varying surfaces. The process, which can take several years, is documented on the back,creating a kind of diary for the works’ growth. While they are almost always white, they are never immediate. Nor are they, in Levine’s words, “outwardly friendly…like the ‘A’ side of a great single. They are the “B” side, in a minor key.” As Chris Ashley has recently written in reference to Levine, “The minor key doesn’t call attention to itself; it’s content to take a back seat, to deliver the goods on the sly, to engage the listener more contemplatively…. The sound and message may ultimately be no less momentous or epic than a typical I, IV, V three major chord head-nodding, toe-tapping basher, but it’s a lot less in your face, and invites a less visceral and more sensitive physical and emotional engagement requiring the listener’s awareness, observations,and reflection.”

Only one day left to report on! Cathy Doocy joined me here on Thursday, Jan. 30, and we saw lots more. Check back again soon for that blog post. Till then, don’t lose your grip! (see the last photo in this post)

#208  W. 29th from across the street.

#208 W. 29th from across the street.

Cool elevator door.

Cool elevator door.

Cool elevator door. Detail.

Cool elevator door. Detail.

Hallway, with Lynn's studio door on the right.

Hallway, with Lynn’s studio door on the right.

Lynn Gall in her NYC studio.

Lynn Gall in her NYC studio.

Another section of the space that Lynn shares.

Another section of the space that Lynn shares.

And just one further view of the shared NYC studio.

And just one further view of the shared NYC studio.

Thomas Struth photograph. Lynn and I discussed how the very strong structure of the composition allowed a comfortable viewing of all that complexity of image. What do you think?

Thomas Struth photograph. Lynn and I discussed how the very strong structure of the composition allowed a comfortable viewing of all that complexity of image. What do you think?

The same thing for this Thomas Struth photograph - strong, simple composition supporting complex imagery.

The same thing for this Thomas Struth photograph – strong, simple composition supporting complex imagery.

"Canyon" by Robert Rauschenberg, 1959. At MOMA, part of the Ileana Sonnabend exhibit.

“Canyon” by Robert Rauschenberg, 1959. At MOMA, part of the Ileana Sonnabend exhibit.

"Rhyme" by Robert Rauschenberg, 1956. Included in the Ileana Sonnabend exhibit at MOMA.

“Rhyme” by Robert Rauschenberg, 1956. Included in the Ileana Sonnabend exhibit at MOMA.

Detail. "Rhyme"

Detail. “Rhyme”

"Device" by Jasper Johns, 1962.

“Device” by Jasper Johns, 1962.

"Ten Thousand Waves" by Isaac Julien, 2010. My photos of this installation do NOT do it justice. Definitely go to moma.org and take a look.

“Ten Thousand Waves” by Isaac Julien, 2010. My photos of this installation do NOT do it justice. Definitely go to moma.org and take a look.

Another shot that does not do it justice. Oh well.

Another shot that does not do it justice. Oh well.

Lisa D. Fischetti at SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, oil on wood panel.

Lisa D. Fischetti at SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, oil on wood panel.

Fischetti. Detail.

Fischetti. Detail.

Fischetti. Even closer detail. (I couldn't avoid the shadow of my iPad, sorry.)

Fischetti. Even closer detail. (I couldn’t avoid the shadow of my iPad, sorry.)

Lisa D. Fischetti. Complete work.

Lisa D. Fischetti. Complete work.

Fischetti. Detail.

Fischetti. Detail.

Fischetti. Even closer detail.

Fischetti. Even closer detail.

Andy Denzler at Claire Oliver. Complete work. Oil on canvas.

Andy Denzler at Claire Oliver. Complete work. Oil on canvas.

Denzler. Detail.

Denzler. Detail.

Denzler. Even closer detail.

Denzler. Even closer detail.

KwanWoo Lee. Complete work. (Hung very high, so odd angle)

KwanWoo Lee. Complete work. (Hung very high, so odd angle)

KwanWoo Lee. Detail.

KwanWoo Lee. Detail.

KwanWoo Lee. Complete work.

KwanWoo Lee. Complete work.

KwanWoo Lee. Detail.

KwanWoo Lee. Detail.

Gordon Moore at Betty Cunningham Gallery.

Gordon Moore at Betty Cunningham Gallery.

Gordon Moore.

Gordon Moore.

Gordon Moore. Complete work.

Gordon Moore. Complete work.

Gordon Moore. Another complete work.

Gordon Moore. Another complete work.

Gordon Moore. Detail.

Gordon Moore. Detail.

Gordon Moore. Ink and gouache on photo emulsion paper. Complete work.

Gordon Moore. Ink and gouache on photo emulsion paper. Complete work.

Gordon Moore. Detail.

Gordon Moore. Detail.

Gordon Moore. Ink and gouache on photo emulsion paper. Complete work.

Gordon Moore. Ink and gouache on photo emulsion paper. Complete work.

Gordon Moore. Detail.

Gordon Moore. Detail.

Leah Yerpe at Dillon Gallery. Complete work.

Leah Yerpe at Dillon Gallery. Complete work.

Leah Yerpe. Detail.

Leah Yerpe. Detail.

Leah Yerpe. Complete work.

Leah Yerpe. Complete work.

Leah Yerpe. Detail.

Leah Yerpe. Detail.

Celia Gerard at Sears Peyton. Complete work.

Celia Gerard at Sears Peyton. Complete work.

Celia Gerard. Detail.

Celia Gerard. Detail.

Celia Gerard. Complete work.

Celia Gerard. Complete work.

Celia Gerard. Detail.

Celia Gerard. Detail.

Roseline Koener at Walter Wickiser Gallery.

Roseline Koener at Walter Wickiser Gallery.

Roseline Koener.

Roseline Koener.

Murat Pulat at Leila Heller Gallery.

Murat Pulat at Leila Heller Gallery.

Pulat. Detail.

Pulat. Detail.

Pulat. Even closer detail.

Pulat. Even closer detail.

Murat Pulat. Complete work.

Murat Pulat. Complete work.

Pulat. Very close up detail.

Pulat. Very close up detail.

Kezban Arca Batibeki at Leila Heller Gallery. Complete work.

Kezban Arca Batibeki at Leila Heller Gallery. Complete work.

Batibeki. Detail.

Batibeki. Detail.

Batibeki. Very close up detail.

Batibeki. Very close up detail.

Daniel Levine at Churner and Churner. Complete work.

Daniel Levine at Churner and Churner. Complete work.

Levine. Detail.

Levine. Detail.

Levine. Two complete works, side by side, so that you can compare them.

Levine. Two complete works, side by side, so that you can compare them.

Levine. View of several works.

Levine. View of several works.

What my iPad mini saw as I dropped it on the floor. Not a bad photo, huh? But, no, I'm not going to do a series! I dropped my iPad when I was in France and caused a diagonal corner-to-corner crack in the screen. This time nothing so serious occurred, just some minor nicks in the corners. Sigh.

What my iPad mini saw as I dropped it on the floor. Not a bad photo, huh? But, no, I’m not going to do a series! I dropped my iPad when I was in France and caused a diagonal corner-to-corner crack in the screen. This time nothing so serious occurred, just some minor nicks in the corners. Sigh.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Debi Pendell Artist by debipendell.com